Next Steps After Banking

I am currently in my third year as an analyst at a small investment bank in the Mid-Atlantic. Its a small firm but the two senior guys each did times at much larger banks and I have gotten what I believe to be I solid lower middle market deal experience. Today, I had a discussion about what I would like to do next come May when my third year is up (there is no possibility of promotion upwards due to our the firm's size). They told me to think about what may interest me next so that they can help by reaching out to their network to find my next job. Due to lifestyle, I would prefer to stay in my current city. It isn't huge but it has a pretty solid finance community; however, I am having trouble thinking of what I could or should do next. There are about 8 or 9 fortune 500 companies I could look at, a bunch of other investment banks that are bigger, commercial banks, asset/investment management firms, etc.

What else am I missing? What are some good opportunities for an analyst from a small investment bank? I am not expecting nor do I want to move up to a bulge bracket or a huge PEG, but just need some help thinking through what my potential opportunities might be.

Thanks for any and all help.

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Comments (5)

Aug 4, 2015

Might not be for you if you want to stay in the realm of finance, but I've seen some analysts leave for product/brand manager roles.

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Aug 4, 2015

Had friends leave for Fortune 500 corp. dev. with lots of M&A activity. They work analyst/supporting roles for head of M&A. You can spend a few years there and eventually move up the food chain to M&A top dog. Alternatively you have a decent chance taking the MBA route with such solid deal and corp. dev. experience.

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Aug 4, 2015

If you don't want to go to a BB or PE (which is surprising considering it seems like 99% of WSO wants to do exactly that) I would look for similarly sized boutiques, asset managers, family offices, etc in your area. If it's a big a finance community as you say, it shouldn't be too difficult to find something.

Best Response
Aug 4, 2015

I think you have to ask yourself what you want to do and develop a career plan. If the guys you work for are willing to help you out and assuming that they have a good network and can open the door for you at multiple places you can probably get into most careers within reason. And Mid-Atlantic to me probably means Philly or maybe Baltimore (I'd assume if you were in DC you'd have listed some government related options) and at least in Philly the finance community is relatively small but really tight nit so a recommendation/intro from a senior guy that you work for will go a long way.

Would you want to stay in IB just at a bigger place? Or PE? You already know the work and general lifestyle (PE, contrary to what everyone on WSO thinks, doesn't offer a much greater work/life balance-a little better, maybe, but you're not putting in 45 hour weeks and the stress is high with an up or out attitude) so that's at least a known quantity but if you don't feel like grinding as many hours as you currently are that may be a factor in not doing it. There aren't too many hedge funds in Philly or Baltimore but there are a decent amount of traditional asset management firms or the investment side of an insurance company you could look into. You probably won't make as much as IB/PE/HF's but traditional AM or insurance offers a more stable career and typically a better lifestyle and there are more jobs in those fields so if you need to switch again in a few years you'll have more options without having to move. You may also be able to make the leap to real estate investment if that's interesting at all. You can make great money and the life is better than IB.

Like others have stated, the typical move to corporate roles is in corp development (internal M&A) but you're young enough that you could probably get into another functional area like ops if you want to one day run a company. Is there something you really like-boats, or sporting equipment or manufacturing widgets? Try to find companies that do that and get into one. And I'd broaden your range of companies beyond F500's unless you have a real hard-on for a big name.

Or you could go the startup route. If you don't want the risk of too early stage check out ones that have gone through an A round and are still going strong. There's not as much reward if you get in around a B round but it'll give you a taste of that world. There's an ok startup community in Philly at least (Safeguard seems to still spins stuff out, Josh Kopelman likes to invest locally and Wharton grads spawn a decent amount), DC is strong and I have no idea about Baltimore.

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Aug 5, 2015

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